MDI Western Balkans’ New Project on More Transparent High Education

Published: 2 August 2015

Country: Serbia

MDI_WB_New_Project_SigningAlmost 80 per cent of young academics in Serbia do not believe their country offers them a good perspective for the future. 30 per cent of Serbian academics are seeking prosperity somewhere else actively trying to leave the country. According to a research published by the Association of People holding PhD – “Doktoranti Srbije”, the main raison for seeking a future outside of Serbia is not a difficult financial situation, but rather distorted value system, nepotism, employment based on political parties’ membership, negative selection and lack of possibilities for employment and continuation of scientific research.

Aiming to tackle this issue, the Media Diversity Institute (MDI) Western Balkans partnered with the Youth Education Committee, a Belgrade-based youth CSO, in implementing a 5-month long project “Towards more transparent high education”. MDI Western Balkans and the Youth Education Committee will do a research and analysis on phenomenon of recruitment and employment favouring the members of mostly, governing political parties, at the University of Belgrade. After all the data is gathered and analysed, the team will launch a media campaign making the project’s results visible and informing the general public on the key findings.

This campaign will include sharing triggering details of the project on social media, organising public outreach action, as well as a press conference.

The project’s target audience are mainly students and young people, but also the general public since the MDI Western Balkans wants to spark a wider debate on the issue. Corruption at the University of Belgrade and other universities in Serbia has been one of the topics covered by some media. For instance, some of the media reported on disputed validity of PhD diplomas gained by the Interior Minister and some other highly positioned public figures.

However, these were only individual cases and alleged examples showing that corruption is a systematic problem that requires a more-in-depth approach by key actors and by the media.

“Corruption in the process of employment has much more severe consequences than we can see them at the first glance. It jeopardises the right to equal job opportunities, possibilities for promotion and advancing at work, but it also enlarges the social distance,” said the general secretary of the Center for Democracy Foundation Natasa Vuckovic.

New MDI Western Balkans’ project is part of a “Towards the greater transparency and clearer criteria in public sector employment” project run by Center for Democracy Foundation. This project has been implemented since January 2015 and is funded by the European Union as part of the Civil Society Facility programme within the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).